Eminem is seen as a legendary freestyle rapper thanks to his iconic role in '8 Mile,' his 8-minute session with UK radio host Tim Westwood in 2009 and more. But Elton John – he's known Em for 20 years – thinks there's one rapper who's better at freestyling: Young Thug.
Elton John recalled being "blown away" by Thugger's freestyle skills in the studio during a new interview with Billboard. "I mean, I've seen Marshall [Mathers] do it in Detroit, but I’ve never seen someone like Thug come in and do that," he said.
"In the end, I had to leave because I think he felt a bit intimidated that I was there and I just wanted him to relax. But it's just an amazing moment in my musical life. ... I have no understanding of how rap records are put together and it's fascinating to watch."
Thug and Elton John dropped an unexpected bop back in 2018 with "High," which samples John's "Rocket Man." He also spoke about the "advice" he offered Thugger during their first meeting: "I said, 'Did you sing in the choir?' And he said, 'Yeah, of course, I sang in the choir. Gospel choir.'
"I said, 'Sing more. Don't just rap, sing more, because the mixture of rap and musicianship and melody is what really makes rap take off.' And he's doing that now." However, Thug claims John's favorite rapper is Gucci Mane.
While Thug is probably flattered by Elton John's praise, the 30-year-old himself considers the late Juice WRLD one of his top freestylers ever. He compared Juice to a "2006-2009 Lil Wayne" during a 2019 No Jumper convo.
"'This n***a really can freestyle. Like, he really don't write," Thug said. "If you give him a subject, he'll go rap right now. And he's going to say metaphors and he's going to say punchlines."